ABERDEEN, SD – Michael Paradise, who served as president of a predecessor intuition to Northeast Community College, has died. He passed away October 28, after a year-long battle with cancer. Dr. Paradise, of Aberdeen, SD, was 89.
Paradise served as president of Northeast Nebraska College (NNC) in Norfolk, Nebraska, from 1968-72. NNC merged with Northeast Nebraska Technical College (NNTC) in 1973 to form Northeast Technical Community College (NTCC) which is now known as Northeast Community College.
“We are sad to learn of the passing of Dr. Paradise, “said Dr. Michael Chipps, Northeast president. “He understood, valued and led America’s junior and technical college mission of meeting the academic and workforce needs of local communities 50-years ago. He is among those who laid the foundation to what we have today with our nationally recognized Northeast Community College.”
In 2013, Northeast named a new covered courtyard on the Norfolk campus after Paradise. “Paradise Courtyard” is located between the College Welcome Center and the Library.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said a humble Paradise. “It made me happy to come back here and see how the college has evolved and how well they are serving the students of this area.”
Paradise, his wife, Ann, and several family members joined a crowd of numerous current and former Northeast faculty and staff members during the event.
Paradise was a native of the Greek island of Crete. While in his teens, he became an active observer of the events of World War II. He joined a covert British intelligence group who had secretly slipped onto the island by submarine to spy on and organize resistance to the German Nazi forces. When he was fifteen years old, he was apprehended by the Gestapo and evaded execution by escaping. Following the liberation of Crete, Paradise received two citations from the British government for his assistance to Allied Forces. He came to the United States in 1951.
In addition to his tenure at Northeastern Nebraska College, Paradise served as president of the former Central Technical Community College in Hastings. He held other positions at the University of Alaska- Juneau, the University of Minnesota, Chadron State College and Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD.
Paradise also served as executive director of the International/Intercultural Consortium, an association of over 120 colleges and universities, and director of the International Services Division of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
Survivors include his wife, Ann, three children, ten grandchildren, three siblings and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, mother and a sister.
Memorial services for Dr. Michael Paradise were held Tuesday, November 1, at Spitzer-Miller Funeral Home in Aberdeen. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials be made in his name.